Municipality of Pangeo
Source: CETI/ Athena R.C.
© Prefecture of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
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The Municipality of Pangeo has a population of 4,638 inhabitants and covers an area of 80 km2. It is situated in the northwestern slopes of Mount Pangaion (1,956 m), into a marvelous chestnut forest surrounded by running waters and rich vegetation. This natural ?balcony? affords spectacular views over the plain of Philippi and the mountains of Falakro and Menoikio, which is the end of Rodopi mountain range. Agriculture and livestock farming are the main occupations of the locals. The Municipality is seated at Nikissiani.
Apart from Olympus, mount Pangaion is the second most historic mountain in Greece. According to Plutarch, it is named after Pangaeus, son of Ares and Critovoule. In the times of Homer, the mountain was called Nysa and later Karmanio. It is inhabited since the prehistoric times and the Stone Age. The first inhabitants were called Derriops. The first Thracian tribes appeared in the area in 1800 BC, followed by the Pelasgians in 1500 BC that was a wild and warlike tribe. In 1400 BC, the Phoenicians of Kadmos arrived here; they were a civilized people with inquiring minds and excellent miners. The main Thracian tribes that settled in Mount Pangaion were the Doberians, who lived in the north; the Paeoplians, Paernians and Agrians, who lived in the west; the Pierians in the south; the Siaians and Prasians in the east. In 470 BC, the Athenians arrived in this area in order to occupy the Pangaion mines. The rich gold deposits of Mount Pangaion also attracted the Macedonians, who built the city of Philippi, under Philip II, in 358 BC. The Macedonian Dynasty reached a heyday based exclusively on the exploitation of the goldmines of Mount Paggaion. The timber of the woods served for the construction of the Macedonian fleet. In 168 BC, the area was inhabited by the Romans. In the battle of Philippi, in 42 BC, the defeat of the republicans Brutus and Cassius by Octavian and Antony signified the end of the Roman Republic.
In each municipal district there are various buildings featuring traditional architectural forms. The fountains with running waters in the squares and the various narrow roads passing between the old houses create a distinctive environment and a beautiful atmosphere. One can visit the Monastery of Ikosifinissa and take a tour around the sights of the wider area of Pangaion, visit the Cave of Alistrati or savour the local delicacies at the picturesque taverns of the Municipality of Pangeo and spent some time at the caf's that afford unique views. Visitors may also attend the attractive cultural activities and the revival of traditional customs like the custom of ?Arapides? on the feast of St John and the "burning of the fleas", on the eve of the carnival festivities.
Mount Pangaion has been a well-known place of pilgrimage and religious devoutness and became famous for its monasteries during Byzantine times. The main monasteries are the Monastery of Ikosifinissa, founded by Osios Germanos, the Monastery of St Demetrius in Nikissiani, the ruins of the Monastery of St George in Paleochori and the Monastery of St John lying on a rise above Nikissiani, in Mount Pangaion.
Visitors can take a walk in the mountain footpaths of unique beauty that pass through the chestnut and beech forests, next to running waters and wonderful wild flowers. They can also go for climbing on the abrupt slopes and visit the caves, which are difficult to approach as well as visit the abandoned mine galleries. There is a ski resort on the top of the mountain with several mountain refuges.